This seminal disc now almost seems like the manifesto for a whole new strain of minimalism that has found an enormously receptive audience. It represented a breakthrough for Estonian composer Arvo Part, whose music–like that of his European colleagues John Tavener and Henryk Gуrecki–pursues an austerely beautiful simplicity that suggests spiritual illumination. Fratres, given here in two versions, one for piano and violin and the other for 12 cellos, repeatedly intones a sequence resembling chant to convey a sensibility that seems at once archaic and beyond time. Violinist Gidon Kremer, for whom Part wrote the exquisitely contemplative and hypnotic title work, grasps the music's koan-like idiom, allowing an inner fullness to resonate through the most fragile, ethereal wisps of tone against the mysterious clangings of prepared piano.
The music of Arvo Part contains a message which appeals to the deepest spiritual needs of our time.Neeme Jarvi
With Litany, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt created one of his most stirring works: a nearly 23-minute-long composition for orchestra and vocal ensemble based on the 24 prayers of St. John Chrysostom (one for each hour of the day). Commissioned for the 25th Oregon Bach Festival, the composition is both memorable and timeless. It finds influences in everything from chant to the repetition of modern minimalism. Play it loudly and the striking vocals of the Hilliard Ensemble simply soar against the strings of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. The orchestral Trisagion harkens toward Litany's mood swings and impact, but–sans voice–lacks the mysticism. One of Pärt's best, and as sacred as modern compositions come.
Heard a track on Radio 3, so bought this as a 'taster' of Pärt's music. A superb introduction, and play it frequently! Born at Paide in Estonia in 1935, a pupil of Heino Eller at Tallinn Conservatory, sometime sound engineer at Estonian Radio, and first prize-winner at the All-Union Young Composers' Competition in Moscow in 1962, Arvo Part, who emigrated to the west with his family in 1980, is one of the leading figures in contemporary music. He had been working with twelve-tone composition and serialism, as well as collage and aleatory techniques, but after a long period of virtual silence when he made a deep and searching study of plainsong, French and Franco-Flemish music of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and the traditions of orthodox sacred music, he engaged in a major reassessment of his own style, emerging in 1976 to effect a renewal of his language.
In the winter of 2012/13, the Haus der Kunst in Munich – one of Europe’s most important museums for contemporary art – hosted the exhibition ECM – A Cultural Archaeology. The goal of curators Okwui Enwezor and Markus Müller was to show the range of the label’s artistic endeavours in music, graphic art, and photography and its creative interchanges with film, theatre and literature. For this exhibition, Manfred Eicher and Steve Lake created this box-set accentuating directions in ECM's rich musical history. Many themes and streams are touched upon here including the range of composition in the New Series, music for and from films, imaginative historical reconstructions, trans-cultural music, ambient minimalism, and jazz and improvisation of many hues, in a collection with a playing time of more than seven hours.
The brief opening piece for chorus on this new release, "Da Pacem Domine," is based on a 9th century Gregorian work and has the usual, familiar–and very beautiful–Pärt-ian characteristics: a soft, endless stream of easy tritones and harmonies that make this plea for peace immensely moving. The major work, Lamentate, is scored for large orchestra and solo piano–a very unusual combination for Pärt. Even his fans will be surprised. In ten brief sections, it begins with a quiet drum roll, immediately followed by horn calls. There are forte explosions for full orchestra and piano, with heavy percussion. At times the only thing we hear is a hushed piano part with strings supporting very quietly. The effect is dark yet alluring. It ends peacefully. This is another stunning CD of Pärt's music for his fans–old and new.
2009's Tabula Rasa is the third album from Swedish melodic power metal band Bloodbound. The band made a splash with their debut (Nosferatu), which featured former Tad Morose frontman Urban Breed, but by their second album (2007's Book of the Dead) Breed and the band parted ways. While not a concept album per se, most songs tie in with the concept of tabula rasa, have some connection with a literal translation thereof, or have a lyrical foundation associated with literature mentioning tabula rasa. It will be especially interesting to fans of Urban Breed's previous work in Tad Morose.
Tabula Rasa", the second CD of Wigelius brothers Anders (voc) and Erik (dr) and their band, is an AOR-record at its best. Wigelius, that's melody but also versatile arrangements that go from driving uptempo tunes ("Deja Vu") and melodic rockers with lots of groove ("These Tears") to a high-class ballad ("My Cheri) or even a slightly modern sound environment in "Love Is The Key". Frontman Anders Wigelius offers a varied and very pleasant voice. Furthermore, the songwriting appears pretty eclectic and includes many true gems of the genre. Obligatory stuff for friends of the likes of Work Of Art, Art Nation, Care Of Night or even early H.E.A.T.! Be sure: Wigelius is a name easily o be carved into the hall of fame of contemporary AOR music!
The symphonies of Arvo Pärt will surprise anyone familiar with his contemplative, mature style. Pärt began life as a member of the Eastern European modern school, not so far removed from contemporaries such as Penderecki and Górecki. His three symphonies show his gradual renunciation of the more radical aspects of his musical syntax, a return to emotional directness, and the beginnings of that otherworldly quality that has become the outstanding feature of his later work. Not all listeners have traveled the path with him, some finding his recent music tedious and pretentious rather than spiritual, and these three relatively early symphonies really do add a welcome depth and roundness of profile to a composer who can all too easily seem one-dimensional. It's important to keep in mind that, unlike so many members of today's pseudospiritual school of composers (England's John Tavener being the prime example), Pärt is a real composer operating even in the most mystical musings. Järvi deserves real credit for calling attention to this fact in such a powerful way.